The first ever Open Budget Review meeting of its life: Amadi Union Parishad

Amadi Union Parishad is a new UP of Sharique III in Khulna District. The first open budget review meeting of UP’s life was held on December 14, 2015 in the presence 450 people from the government and citizens invited by the Union Parishad.
14.12.2015, Khulna
Before the intervention of Sharique project, the UPs thought of this activity just as to share the budget with some selected people, let alone reviewing this.  The scenario has changed these days; the UP is now aware about the importance of citizens’ participation, their opinion on the review budget and accommodate their opinion to finalize the UP’s fiscal year’s budget. 
 
Citizens have got the opportunity for the second time to know about the progress of their projects after they included projects at the Open Budget Meeting beginning of the year. People participated in the review budget meeting and expressed their opinion on the projects and also provided constructive feedbacks. The women observed carefully how their demands were incorporated in the budget. Amadi UP Chairman Md. Amir Ali Gain declared the total budget amounting BDT 2,06,70,616 (2015-16 F/Y) and the UP Secretary Nur Alam presented it elaborately to the citizens followed by the open discussion where Chairman interacted with the citizens and answered different questions.

“I am so impressed by this open budget review process supported by Local Governance project-Sharique which is now completed, meeting all legal compliances and by respecting the values of citizens’ opinion. I have never seen such process in my 19 years of career in the UP. I can’t still believe that the review budget meeting turned into such a festive occasion. It changed my mind set and from now on, I am hopeful to continue UP open budget review meeting with the direct involvement of citizens and transform our UP into a model one as per our strategic vision where democratic local governance would be practiced and wellbeing of the citizens will be reflected.” - UP member & Panel chairman Md. Pizir Uddin Ahmed

Even, some further proposals like tree plantation and disaster related activities by citizens were made and added in the revised budget after the presentation as the demand for  mitigating the natural disaster and environmental sustainability was considered as priority. All the participants were pleased to observe the first of its kind by the Union Parishad. UP bodies and Upazila personnel have their traditional mindset changed and realized that the budget review meeting can be a process to ensure the UP’s transparency and accountability towards citizens.
Citizens also advised UP to continue this initiative in the future to fulfil their development dreams. They now are inspired considering that the budget review is the tool that can finally solve any issue once it is there. Sattya Ranjon Tarafdar, Program Officer of WFP (World Food Programme) also expressed, “I have never seen this type of event and I think it would be very supportive for our ER (Enhancing Resilience) program also.” 
 
Eti Das of Ward 2 said, “Earlier, I had a thought that there were no scope to change the UP’s plan/budget once it is done, but my idea is wrong as the meeting incorporated some proposals today”.
 
In a remarkably short period of time, Sharique through its experience from other districts abd its continuous involvement with quality accompaniment has triggered a big success for a new UP to perform bigger. Amadi Union Parishad through this practice has realised to continue to respond towards its citizens by ensuring participation and transparency to all the citizens and other stakeholders.

 


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